There are over 200 different viruses known to cause symptoms of cold. When your immune system is weak, you can be a very easy target of viral infection and soon you will get symptoms that include sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, sneezing, watery eyes, headache, muscle pain, and fever over a hundred degrees. Colds can last for a week or more depending on the severity of the infection. If you have another chronic illness such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, the symptoms may cause critical health problems. Hence it is imperative to talk to your doctor about cold medicines or treatment options that will be most effective for you. Know which medicines are safe to take and better avoided considering your specific condition. There is actually no particular cure for the common cold. However, you can manage the symptoms and avoid complications.
- Increase your intake of fluids such as water, juice, and clear soup. Herbal teas known for relieving colds include aloe vera, chamomile, lemon, licorice, myrrh, pomegranate, and thyme among others. Drinking lots of liquids helps with congestion, soothes sore throat, and prevents dehydration. Avoid alcohol.
- Gargle with warm water and a teaspoon of salt several times a day. Doing so can relieve sore throat. The mixture will help wash away mucus and will enhance circulation of infection-fighting antibodies. You can also gargle with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water. Gargling with a mouthful of mixture every hour can cure sore throat in 24 hours.
- Get plenty of rest. If your stuffy nose is keeping you from a good night’s rest, use a vaporizer or mentholated ointment to relieve irritated nasal drainage. Prop yourself up using extra pillows as this will help alleviate nasal congestion.
- If you have to take nonprescription medicines such as analgesics, antitussives or cough suppressants, expectorants, and decongestants, always read the labels prior to taking them. Know that these medicines cannot actually kill the virus but can only relieve the symptoms. Be aware that many of these medicines have adverse effects that may include upset stomach, nausea, dizziness, or drowsiness. Antibiotics are not recommended to treat colds as they do not kill viruses, hence, avoid taking them.
- Consult your physician. People do not usually call the doctor when experiencing symptoms of common colds. Nevertheless if symptoms persist or get worse over 10 days even after taking remedies or medicines; if you are experiencing shortness of breath, pain in the chest, face, or forehead, persistent nausea, and prolonged fever above a hundred degrees, it is best to call your doctor.
To prevent yourself from catching a cold always eat well balanced meals, drink lots of water, get sufficient rest, and make a habit of washing your hands regularly. Cold viruses are highly contagious that they can be transmitted by merely touching an infected surface or shaking hands with a person who has colds. For this reason, hand washing is known to be a powerful weapon against colds and other infectious diseases.